On Tuesday, Israel’s delegation to the United Nations achieved the impossible dream, as the UN General Assembly convened a special session to adopt a draft resolution condemning hate crimes and a condemnation of anti-Semitism.
In its original version, the proposal had only referred to Islamophobia. But after a diplomatic effort led by Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon — and with the support of many UN member states — the proposal was amended to include the condemnation of anti-Semitism.
“The memory of history seems to be fading with time, but our diplomatic efforts have shown that we will not allow the international community to remain silent while a wave of anti-Semitism spreads throughout the world,” Danon said.
“This is an Israeli achievement at the UN and a crushing loss to the forces of hatred. However, it is very unfortunate that we had to fight to include anti-Semitism in the draft resolution,” he noted.
“I remind the world that denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination in their land and being anti-Israel is no different from anti-Semitism. The time has come for the world to act uncompromisingly against hatred and anti-Semitism.”
Speaking exclusively a few days earlier to JewishPress.com, Danon said he was optimistic that with time, attitudes at the world body might soften.
“I believe we can change the United Nations,” he said, “by making sure Israel’s side of the story is presented to those who have the power to make changes at home and abroad, here at the UN.”
Sometimes, it is those who represent the smallest countries in the world who have the most influence at home, he pointed out; a fact that could explain the extra attention directed towards smaller nations by Israeli leadership over the past several years.
“Ambassadors from the smaller nations have considerable power at home, more than those from larger nations with bigger governments,” he said. “Those from smaller countries carry more weight in the discussions with their leadership, so it’s important to include them on our fact-finding missions to Israel, so they can see the truth for themselves, first-hand.”
Some ambassadors, he noted, “have no knowledge of the reality of what’s happening in the Middle East. It’s not part of their local area of concern and they have too much going on to focus on very much else. We are there to present the facts to ambassadors who don’t have the opportunity to access that information.”
Danon declined to name specific countries whose ambassadors have made changes in their votes at the UN after having participated in fact-finding visits to Israel; but he said the initiative has been very successful.